Article: 178437 of talk.bizarre
From: (Evolve or Perish)
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: just a token
Date: 1 Dec 1994 08:28:18 GMT
Organization: The Garden of Arcane Delights
Lines: 34
Message-ID: <3bk1f2$>
Summary: how about something on a lighter note?
Keywords: shaggy dog
Status: O

I was fully aware of all the unsavory associations when they asked me
to cut off my finger. My family conjured images of Yakuza initiations
and mob battles, warned of other tests I might have to pass. But had I
know of the madness to follow, I still don't think I would have
hesitated. And despite the horrors I endured (and committed), I still
believe I made the right choice.

You see, I've always been something of a quitter. Unable to finish
anything, always vacillating between one choice and another, never
able to resolve or commit myself to anything. Spineless, really.

So when they called, when they wanted *me*, here, I thought, was a
chance to redeem all the things I had left undone. Here was something
to which I could devote myself, at last here was a *direction* for my
life. That I had had to mark my body, give up a piece of myself,
merely symbolized the depth of my committment. Plus, a small voice
reminded me, once marked I was branded for life; there would be no
turning back even if my resolve failed.

And so it was with a glad heart and only a tiny bit of dread that I
entered the meeting room. As I placed my left hand on the cool slate
and took up the knife with my right, I felt truly *right* for the
first time in my life. And though my head swam with the enormity of
what I was doing, I drew the blade through the second knuckle of my
little finger with a straight assured stroke.

And I did not flinch. This was, after all, the Graduate School at the
University of Chicago.

b r e t t 
"Of course it's fiction; everyone knows we get *branded*."